Dan Saffer: 'Interaction design is an applied art'
The first thing that stands out to me from Saffer's interview is the passion for the combination of disciplines he uses to define his work (e.g. film making, anthropology, art science etc) but his base is mankind. He makes it for the people and is grounded by that. In my opinion this is very important because to create a successful website you have to constantly think about how the websites going to be used and what will draw in. He also has a mixture of inspirations that constantly keep his ideas flowing.
From reading about Saffer he is continuously growing as a designer, always looking at new designers, inspirations and challenges that keep him disciplined, for example he has suggested looking at new technology (in particular touchscreen devices). Interacting with the technology gives you a basic knowledge of it's function therefore you can improve it.
Joel Schafer: 'I'm into minimalistic clean design'
Whilst Saffer describes his work form a creative point of view and how important research etc is Schafer relies heavily on planning. He plans it down to the last detail so that he knows what coding relates to what page and what possible problems could occur.
From reading both articles I think that your design process has to be intricately planned, however you need to know what you audience want/need to do this. The only way to go about this is to research, experiment and (for me) draw.